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L. Neil Smith's
Number 519, May 17, 2009

"The establishment media and the
establishment government are criminals."

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Should Nancy Pelosi or Porter Goss be Tortured to Save the Constitution?
by Jim Duensing

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

The controversy this weekend over what Nancy Pelosi knew and just when she knew it is heating up.

Documents from the cia indicate that as early as September 4th, 2002, both Porter Goss and Nancy Pelosi were jointly briefed by the cia about the torture techniques which had been employed during the "interrogation" of a suspected member of Al Qaeda.

Here is a pdf of the an unclassified memo about a series of such briefings.

The public debate over the Establishment Media channels has centered merely on whether Pelosi was told that a technique of drowning someone during "enhanced interrogation", termed waterboarding, was 1) going to be used or 2) already had been used.

Pelosi's current recollection of the events of that briefing were stated by spokesman Brendan Daly who said in "cia memo: Pelosi knew of waterboarding": "The speaker was briefed only once, in September 2002. The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used."

For argument's sake, let's take Pelosi at her word—or rather her spokesperson's word. She's been rather tight lipped on the subject lately. But, let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she only knew that the Bush / Cheney administration was claiming the legal right to drown people in a secret detention center in Communist Cuba—but that they hadn't done it—yet.

If just that much of her story is true, Pelosi had a moral and legal obligation, as the ranking Democratic member of the so-called "House Intelligence Committee", to defend the American Constitution against domestic enemies of freedom who were—and still are—willing to trample the freedoms that brave Americans have fought and died to secure.

Torture is not an American value.

Freedom and a respect for human rights—even and especially the rights of those held and awaiting trial—are fundamental American values. It's what makes us better than the evil ones.

Now, let's analyze the question the Establishment Media is kicking around, namely was Pelosi briefed that torture by drowning had already been used.

Here's what the LA Times had to say in "Records suggest Pelosi, others were told of harsh interrogations":

A chart compiled by the CIA indicates that Pelosi (D-San Francisco) was briefed on Sept. 4, 2002, on the agency's interrogation of alleged Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, and that the session covered "the particular [enhanced interrogation techniques] that had been employed." The chart does not list the specific methods covered during the briefing. But during the preceding month, the CIA had used the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times, according to a Justice Department memo released last month.

83 times prior to the briefing? And, they never mentioned it to the congressional heads of the House Intelligence Committee?

It's interesting to note that the other person briefed simultaneously with Pelosi was Porter Goss her Republican counterpart, then Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Prior to that meeting, when already serving on the House Intelligence Committee, Goss was infamous for having met with the so-called bagman of 9/11 on the very morning of the terrorist attacks.

Later, Goss was appointed to head the cia.

Pelosi's claim of ignorance doesn't pass the smell test as Chris Matthews would say.

The two ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee are briefed about torture techniques. One of the two soon becomes the head of the agency they were overseeing that was providing the briefing—and they don't tell them torture had already been used?

I don't buy it.

In "Security Before Politics by Porter Goss":

Goss claims the so-called gang of four, which included himself, Pelosi, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby, were briefed and all gave bi-partisan support to the cia's systematic torture of detainees.

Something in my gut tells me that's accurate.

But, luckily, we don't need to rely on my or even Stephen Colbert's gut on this one. We don't even need to rely on the word of Pelosi or Goss.

Pelosi already now admits to knowing that your government claimed the right to secretly torture people with suspected ties to the evil ones. Her silence; her failure to sound the alarm and warn the American people about this threat to American liberty automatically disqualifies her from any position of leadership in the people's house.

So, here's what I propose:

The Civilized Option


The Torture Option

Both Pelosi and Goss be strapped to a gurney and drowned until their stories officially match about what was said at the briefing just prior to the one year anniversary of 9/11.

I sincerely hope most Americans are opposed to the Torture Option. In truth, I am. However, it is precisely what Pelosi and Goss favor with regard to other enemies of the Constitution.

But then again, maybe I'm just suffering from a pre-9/11 mindset.

Perhaps Dick Cheney is right, it could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

With Goss' links to funding terrorism and Pelosi's aid and comfort to the enemies of American freedom, perhaps waterboarding them both is the only appropriate solution in a post 9/11 world.

And, if it's only "enhanced interrogation", they have nothing to fear.


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